RWTH Hosts GreenTech Expo on Templergraben

Copyright: © RWTH Aachen

The exhibition showcases current research on "Plastics and the Circular Economy" with approaches for a more sustainable use of plastics.


A public exhibition at RWTH is drawing attention to the topic of Plastics and the Circular Economy. At the GreenTech Expo from June 10 to 24 at Templergraben – opposite the SuperC building), large banners will showcase current research projects that seek to tackle the plastics crisis make plastics more sustainable.

The exhibition is hosted by the RWTH Knowledge Hub, established as part of Germany’s Excellence Strategy to promote the transfer of knowledge and expertise to society. The GreenTech Expo itself strives to be environmentally sustainable: The banners are made of PVC-free textile and will be reused, and the feet of the banner stands are made of recycled plastic.

The exhibition will present ongoing research projects and approaches for a more sustainable world, some of which have already been implemented by startups originating from RWTH. For example, IonKraft has succeeded in making previously non-recyclable plastic packaging for so-called barrier applications recyclable with the help of plasma technology. Everwave is using innovative technologies to build floating river platforms capable of collecting floating trash. In addition, AI-assisted garbage collection boats are being deployed in hard-to-reach places and clean up the water in “litter hotspots,” where large amounts of trash accumulate.

The GreenTech Expo will also provide information on the need to adopt a circular economy for plastic, present intelligent material flow management in plastics recycling, and explain how recyclable materials can be created from plastic waste. Other banners address, among other innovations, alternatives to conventional plastics, such as PLA – the polyester, obtained from renewable raw materials, is biodegradable – or the development of better catalysts for the production of bioplastics.

Special Events Day on Templergraben

As part of the GreenTech Expo, there will be a special events day on Tuesday, June 14, with a focus on other sustainability topics. At the Sustainability Market of Opportunities organized by the AStA Students’ Committee, student teams and dedicated individuals will present their initiatives from 12 to 4pm on Templergraben. There will be a sewing and repair drop-in workshop as well as a dyeing workshop for everyone interested in participating. The market will take place on the occasion of the 2022 Sustainability Days (de), which will take place from June 10 to 16.

At 2 pm, RWTH will be officially named a Fairtrade University in front of the RWTH Main Building, Templergraben 55. The program, scheduled to last about 45 minutes, will involve Mayor Hilde Scheidt, the Rectorate's sustainability officers, and the University's Fairtrade group.

From 3 to 4:15pm, RWTH researchers will present their Green Technology projects, largely with a focus on plastics and the circular economy. Six short presentations, each lasting six minutes and moderated by Jens Tervooren, will address the following questions, among others: How can we shift away from fossil-based production to a production based on locally available, renewable raw materials? How can microbes help with the recycling of waste? How can recycling plants and the recyclability of plastic packaging be improved? After the presentations, the researchers will be available for discussions until 5 pm.

Starting at 4:15 pm, the Sustainability and University Governance Office Staff Unit and the AStA Students’ Committee will host the 6th Round Table on Sustainability at Platanenplatz and provide a brief update on sustainability-related developments and various projects at AStA and at RWTH. The key topic of the event will be: "Communication to and with Students on Sustainability".

The final event of the day will be a talk jointly hosted by the AStA Student Committees of RWTH and FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, scheduled to take place at 7:30pm in Lecture Hall V (1010|213) in the RWTH Main Building. Siegbert Gossen und Michael Frings from the Weltladen (“World Shop”) network of fair-trade shops will give a presentation titled “The World Shops and Fair Trade – A Model for the World of Tomorrow.”